There's always something new to discover at FortWhyte Alive.
Can't bear the thought of gifting Dad another tie this Father's Day? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Read on for a full offering of sustainable and experiential gifts to kick your offspring-ly duty up a notch.
Treat Dad to family time outdoors! Book your Father’s Day picnic lunch from the Buffalo Stone Café. Bring your own blanket and find a spot along the trail to enjoy. Lunch will feature traditional picnic style foods.
Sunday, June 21. Reserve by calling the café at (204) 989-8355 ext 215.
Tours operating Saturday and Sunday, June 20 and 21, and all summer long. Click here for more information and to register.
This meadow loves to feel the burn!
Since the last Ice Age, the grasses and wildflowers of the tall-grass prairie depended on grazing bison to move their seeds around. They also need fires to burn away the layer of dead grasses called "thatch".
Today, less than 1% of native tall grass prairie remains. Most of this land has been converted to cropland. Without fire, other land has been invaded by aspen trees.
Without fire or bison, aspen trees would eventually fill in this sunny meadow, and non-native grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and smooth brome would dominate.
FortWhyte Alive is managing this ecosystem through managed burns, scheduled to target non-native grasses at the peak of their growth and eliminate the thatch layer, allowing the regrowth of many beneficial native grasses and wildflowers.
Manitoba Music and FortWhyte Alive teamed up this month to present the first-ever Manitoba Music Winter Songwriter Retreat at FortWhyte Alive. The co-writing retreat brought together nine emerging songwriters to strengthen their songwriting chops through collaboration at FWA's secluded lakeside field station and architecturally unique cabins. One week later, all nine artists shared their collaborations live on stage in a special Manitoba Music Songwriter Concert at FortWhyte Alive.
Check out this video recap of the retreat to meet the artists and learn about their songwriting experience at FortWhyte Alive.
Not sure what to get mom this Mother's Day? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Read on for a full offering of sustainable and experiential gifts that you may end up wanting to gift yourself.
The Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), a member of the Blackbird family (Icteridae), is a champion among North American songbirds with an annual flight of approximately 20,000 km round-trip, one of the longest migrations in the western hemisphere. With a breeding range covering open areas of the northern US and southern Canada, the Bobolink returns from its wintering grounds in the grasslands of southwestern Brazil, Paraguay, and Northern Argentina to appear here in southern Manitoba about the second to third week of May.
Upon arrival, the male Bobolink is visually striking in a jet black coat with bright white shoulders and rump and a straw-colored patch on the back of his head. He utters his unique, uplifting, bubbly flight song of metallic notes, and whistles while fluttering up over the fields with rapid, shallow wingbeats in a distinctive, helicopter-like display.
In contrast, the female Bobolink is sometimes mistaken for a large sparrow, with her plain front, dark head stripes, patterned wings and pale, overall golden-buff colouring. Bobolinks formerly nested in tall and mixed grass prairies, but now utilize hay and alfalfa fields, meadows, and lush pastures in agricultural regions. The typical nest, built by the female, is very well-hidden on the ground amongst dense grass, and contains 4-7 eggs.
The nestlings are fed by both parents and leave the nest in about 14 days, often before gaining flight ability. Feeding primarily on insects during the summer, Bobolinks also consume seeds of weeds, grasses and grains, particularly during migration and on their South American wintering grounds where they sometimes invite persecution with damage to local rice crops.
As with many ground-nesting grassland species, habitat loss, coupled with nest-destroying mowing and haying practices (sadly observed first-hand during surveying with the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas) have impacted the Bobolink, which is now federally designated as “threatened” by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. Fortunately, the Bobolink can still be found in suitable habitat in southern Manitoba, and continues to inspire us with its exuberant, uplifting song, and unique attributes deserving of our admiration and respect.
For those interested in a the chance to spot the bobolink and other songbirds at FortWhyte Alive, Birding and Breakfast runs every Wednesday and Friday morning during the month of May. Our experienced birding guides lead a sunrise hike to observe spring migrants. After your hike, join Chef Kelly in the Buffalo Stone Cafe for a delicious breakfast. Bring your binoculars and come prepared for spring weather - we will be out on the trail rain or shine! Guided hikes depart at 7am. Visit www.fortwhyte.org/birding or call (204) 989-8355 for more information and to register.